Bob Barr

As they say, “old habits die hard,” especially on Capitol Hill, where legislators are once again trying to sneak a dangerous new national identification database into law, under the public’s radar.

Hidden deep within the 800-odd pages of the Senate’s pending immigration reform bill is a provision for a new government ‘photo recognition’ system. This represents the latest in the on-going effort by the federal government to build a database of all U.S. citizens; a process that has accelerated since its initial failure to do so after a number of states balked at the REAL ID Act requirements for a stealth national ID card.

Simply – and deceptively -- called a “photo tool,” the pending legislation calls for all U.S. employers to “verify the identity of [new hires] using the photo tool,” which will allow them to “match the photo on a covered identity document provided to the employer to a photo maintained by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services database.” According to’s David Kravets, the database would contain the “names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.”

This isn’t the first attempt Congress has launched at a national ID database since the trouble into which the REAL ID stumbled. Database-obsessed legislators on the Hill, from both sides of the aisle, continue trying to slip one by the American public. The “E-Verify” system built into the 2011 “Legal Workforce Act” met all of the basic requirements for a national ID card. Supporters of the system claimed it was designed to prevent illegal immigrants from taking American jobs, but in reality it was nothing more than another backdoor attempt by the government to secure even greater control over American workers and businesses. Even worse, it set the stage for an “all-purpose security device, used for cashing checks, confirming the name on credit cards, and looking you up at the prescription counter,” according to the CATO Institute’s privacy expert, Jim Harper.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.